Yuri Anime: Kannazuki no Miko, Volume 2

January 9th, 2007

I was torn today. Do I review some of the backlogged stuff I have to review, or review new stuff I have to review, or finally get around to a roundup of the anime season this winter?

After agonizing over it for a while (like twenty minutes on and off throughout the day) I’ve decided to get something old out of the way, because I’m sick of looking it on my list. :-) And because it makes a nice lead-in to a new anime.

So, here I am, at last reviewing the second volume of the Kannazuki no Miko anime. It practically seems like ancient history at this point, a thought which is funnier to me than it ought to be, but I’m going to chalk it up to the fact that my body thinks it’s 4AM right now. ^_^

So, in Volume 2 of Kannazuki no Miko, we are treated to the back histories of the two who are competing for Himeko’s love: Souma and Chikane. We learn, mostly through flashbacks, of Souma’s tragic and difficult past; and why the Orochi’s first neck, Tsubasa, has issues about Souma particularly. Chikane’s past and personality are fleshed out a bit through the admittedly biased eyes of her adoring maid Otoha. In both cases, we are meant to admire the strength and kindness of the character. Which works.

What each story also reveals is the true nature of the Orochi – obsession turned to mania, obsessions that use flawed logic to further the plot. And here is where the story simply is not good. I know no one cares. But I really watched this volume carefully to try and pinpoint the things that make this such a train wreck of a story. It had to be in *this* volume and no other, because the anime is so short.

Here is the first flawed logic that leads up to an inexplicable decision. Tsubasa: “I killed our abusive father to protect you, my brother. I then let you be taken from me to give you a chance at a happy life, while I resigned myself to a life of hardship. Now that I have the power of the Orochi, I want you to give up your happy life that I strived for, in order to be evil with me…or failing that I will kill you, or force you to kill me. If you kill me, you will still be taken over by the evil blood within us.”

I will grant that KnM is A) a fantasy; B) a short anime; C) crap, but even so, this simply makes no sense. And that is not even taking into consideration that no one we defeat stays defeated (or that the end of the story will negate any power the threat of “Orochi” has.)

That’s just the one story. The other is this: Sister Miyako forces Chikane to see her own feelings for Himeko for what they actually are – physical attraction, desire. It is sensible to me, having been in a similar situation, to see Chikane leap through hoops to deny this. It is also sensible that she will not just accept her feelings. It’s damned hard when you have no models or mores that make it “okay.” (One of the many reasons I live my life in the open and why being out is genuinely so important here in the real world. If Chikane had a pair of happy, openly gay aunts or cousins or something, then she’d have no cause to angst over her feelings half as much.)

I can make it work that Orochi infiltrates Chikane’s brain through this crack. I can do that, because I’m an imaginative, creative person. If I had written the story, I would have done that visibly, so the viewers could actually see it happening. Instead, we suddenly go from a Chikane who desires Himeko but denies it, to a Chikane apparently mad with Orochi and obsession. Sure – we can make it work. But I resent being asked to do so. You wrote the damn story – you make it work.

Here’s my understanding of Chikane’s logic: I desire you, but that’s disgusting. Therefore I am disgusting. Therefore I am evil. Therefore I am Orochi, since Orochi is the embodiment of evil and perversion of all that is good and light, i.e. you. I have remembered our true history, and can see that you do not. Under the pretext of trying to bring back your memory, I will do something horrible to you so that you will hate me (and the Orochi I claim to be part of) and will want to defeat it (and me) thus saving yourself. If I save you in that way, the ends justify the means, and I condemn myself to the eternal punishment I deserve anyway for being so vile.

If you follow that, you are probably certifiable. Or 15.

When Chikane’s resolve to be punished fails, her logic, which is already flawed, gets more complex and inexplicable, but I’ll save that for next volume.

So, in my attempt to understand Volume 2 as a real story, I come up with these two conclusions: 1) Obsessions are bad and 2) Obsessed people make bad decisions.

Now, if you ignore the fact that much of the story makes no sense, it’s a pretty good volume. LOL Lots of giant robot fighting, bickering among the female Orochi which is marginally amusing, and lots of Himeko service. We pretty much get to see Himeko in every possible kind of dishabille, for both good and ill. Souma takes the lead in the “Get Himeko” contest, but if it weren’t for Chikane’s insanity, she might have pulled even. Instead, she forces the issue in the infamous lesbian rape scene, making yet another bad rap for us Yurizoku.

More interesting to me was the scene involving Sister Miyako’s mental rape of Chikane, using a mirror image of Himeko. It’s pretty much the key moment in Chikane’s snapping. I liked the mindfuck going on – and Sister Miyako, who doesn’t look like any nun, anywhere, ever, was worth it. ^_^;

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 5 (Let’s face it, without the lesbian element, hardly anyone would have watched this)
Characters – 6
Yuri – A very nasty 7
Service – 7

Overall – 6

Remember evil Chikane. You’ll be meeting her again soon.

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15 Responses

  1. pachy_boy says:

    Some fan*girls* actually liked the rape scene? I find that really surprising. I’m a fanboy and yet I found that scene more disturbing than anything. I enjoyed the show regardless, anyway.–Pachy_Boy

  2. Anonymous says:

    This may be nitpicking, but what are blogs for?

    Anyway, I stopped with KannaMiko after episode 6, which from what I have read may be right before Important Things started to Happen in a Big Way, but from what I recall Chikane loves Himeko because Himeko was the first person who was nice to her or something like that and has previously rejected a number of other girls at their school who were interested in here. I don’t see how that squares with her interest in Himeko being based on physical desire. So perhaps something else in the show doesn’t make sense.

  3. As you say, you stopped watching before those things happened.

    Chikane’s friendship with Himeko started, in part, because she was overwhelmed by the “light” Himeko represented, while she, as Miko of the Moon, represents dark.

    It is exactly the fact that Chikane is forced to realize that her interest is not “pure” friendship, but also include “base” desire that screws her up so badly. (Because of the assumption that desire is bad, versus pure love which is acceptable.) Chikane is hardly the first person to wrestle with that dichotomy and lose.

  4. neo_hrtgdv says:

    KnM seems to still be source of debate, but now: about the rape scene I really didn’t understand it at first, I had to go to the Hispanic Yuri Forum and ask around, the scene was kind of weird and for a moment I thought she wanted to kill her or something like that. I liked the show and while I know its not the smartest piece around (or even a smart piece) I think it has some value because many people felt like Chikane and identified with her, her situation and her feelings, I think that alone has a lot of value.

    On the blog thing… “blog” is shot for “web log” which is like a journal you keep online, I remember the good old http://www.livejournal.com who I think is the first blog.

  5. the previous anonymous says:

    Hi, I’m the same anonymous as before. You wrote:

    “It is exactly the fact that Chikane is forced to realize that her interest is not “pure” friendship, but also include “base” desire that screws her up so badly. (Because of the assumption that desire is bad, versus pure love which is acceptable.) Chikane is hardly the first person to wrestle with that dichotomy and lose.”

    OK, I presume that what is going on here then is specifically an inability to admit that she wants to have sex *with another girl*, right, not a rejection of sex in general? If so, then I still don’t see how it makes much sense. The chara intro in ep one for Chikane makes it quite clear that other females of quality have been after her and have gotten nowhere. I have difficulty believing that she got to this point in her puberty without ever being sexually attracted to any other woman (not even her staff of maids, one of whom has a thing for her), regardless of whatever mystical wooja-wooja she has with Himeko. But then, perhaps I ask too much from the show? Or maybe I am missing how intense the need for denial is, given that I’ve never been a gay girl?

    Also, in response to this:

    “Here’s my understanding of Chikane’s logic: I desire you, but that’s disgusting. Therefore I am disgusting. Therefore I am evil. Therefore I am Orochi, since Orochi is the embodiment of evil and perversion of all that is good and light, i.e. you. I have remembered our true history, and can see that you do not. Under the pretext of trying to bring back your memory, I will do something horrible to you so that you will hate me (and the Orochi I claim to be part of) and will want to defeat it (and me) thus saving yourself. If I save you in that way, the ends justify the means, and I condemn myself to the eternal punishment I deserve anyway for being so vile.

    If you follow that, you are probably certifiable. Or 15.”

    In fairness to Chikane, isn’t she more or less at just that age, give or take a year?

    On the other hand, Souma is also supposed to be part of Orochi, and he isn’t content to just play out his allegedly destined role, so she does have a clear model for some self-determination here.

  6. Yana says:

    To the nitpicking anonymous: Yes, you are missing something and no, it’s not because you’re not gay. ;) There’s nothing wrong at all with lusting for a specific someone despite there being other more physically attractive girls for the taking. It’s very natural to desire a person physically as a by-product of liking that person for who she is on the inside and does not have to be based on physical appearance at all.

  7. Anonymous says:

    In response to this:

    If you follow that, you are probably certifiable. Or 15.”

    In fairness to Chikane, isn’t she more or less at just that age, give or take a year?

    I’m betting Erica knows that, and made that ‘or you’re 15’ statement intentionally. :)

    Think of what Himeko says in the last episode of the whole show. Something along the lines of, “But you’re really a 16-year-old, just like me.”

    Or am I wrong?

  8. Seems awfully likely, doesn’t it? ;-)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Does a mini pencil board come with this volume also?

  10. Yes it does. A very sweet picture on one side and somewhat more sexy picture on the other.

  11. Anonymous says:

    oh shoot my didn’t come with one then. Thanks a lot though guess I’ll have to go buy another one.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Honestly, I have to give myself a medal for watching a whole show, where I spent 99% of the time wishing the two main characters dead and feeling deeply sorry for the third main character. When she said I am going to kill you,I said, YES!!!
    Himeko spent 99.9% of the time being her useless crying self, unable to make a decision and tearing Chisane’s heart apart in the process. Yamibou with Mecha? You bet. Same waste of Chisane as it was of Hatsuki.

  13. Anonymous says:

    And yeah, the rape was pathetic and insulting. How can you enjoy a *happy ending* when you spend the whole show in agony dealing with half-witted characters and plot?

  14. Sora Ryu says:

    “Here’s my understanding of Chikane’s logic: I desire you, but that’s disgusting. Therefore I am disgusting. Therefore I am evil. Therefore I am Orochi, since Orochi is the embodiment of evil and perversion of all that is good and light, i.e. you. I have remembered our true history, and can see that you do not. Under the pretext of trying to bring back your memory, I will do something horrible to you so that you will hate me (and the Orochi I claim to be part of) and will want to defeat it (and me) thus saving yourself. If I save you in that way, the ends justify the means, and I condemn myself to the eternal punishment I deserve anyway for being so vile.”

    In response to this analysis I will say that in discovering who I really was sexually, philosophically and otherwise in highschool I went through the same horrible obsession/hating myself for loving a pure girl/hating myself for being emotionally and physically attracted to a girl. I can entirely identify with Chikane minus the snapping & raping. This is what redeemed the anime for me in spite of all the factors working against me liking KMiko. So the story could be much better but it’s not entirely brainfuck. Many girls coming from a homophobic background have a terrible time with their first loves. They suffer from feeling like they’re an abomination and shit like that or they question the nature of their crush, and then go extremely batty when they realize they and the one they love can never be together (i.e. you happen to fall in love with a straight girl – ouch). Me included. Chikane included.

    These days when there is so little material on lesbian lives, it’s good to see a realistic chronicling of how a crush can go horrible wrong. Nonetheless I hope to see more series in which the crush goes incredibly right :)

    -Sora Ryu

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